Mailbag

With each passing week in this crazy season comes more and more email to my inbox. Keep it coming. As always, I make a point to respond to everyone through email or on the site. I will never use anyone's full name on BON unless explicitly authorized.

Lost in all the kerfluffle about what happens in this three team tiebreaker is the fact that Oklahoma's defense has kind of sucked this year. Do you have any reason for why we should even think Oklahoma will succeed in stopping Texas Tech?

--Emma R.

First and foremost--a hat tip for using the word 'kerfluffle'. I approve. As to your question, I'll have much more on this game on Wednesday, but let's lay out some of the relevant numbers, comparing Oklahoma's defensive performance since the Texas game against Texas Tech's performance thus far in six conference games. As is mandatory when discussing the Big 12, we include rate statistics for context. (Note, too, that these stats are for offensive points only; special teams and defense-created scores have been omitted from the points-per-play calculations.)

OPP Rush Yds Yds/Att Pass Yds Yds/Att Total Yds/Play Points/Play
Texas 161 4.6 277 7.9 6.3 .54
Kansas 134 4.5 357 8.5 6.8 .43
K State 64 2.0 486 9.3 6.5 .42
Nebraska 204 5.8 214 7.6 6.6 .44
A&M 26 0.9 252 4.9 3.5 .26
Tech B12 123 4.7 439 8.9 7.4 .63

This is only half the equation (Tech's D versus OU's offense being the other half), but the short answer to your question is: No, there's not much here to suggest Oklahoma's defense is going to smother Tech's offense. If we grant that Tech's offense is at least as good--and probably the best--of all the above, there's not much in OU's performance record to suggest they're going to keep Tech from moving the ball and putting points on the board.

Your buddy Dr. Saturday thinks Oklahoma controls its own destiny. Agree or disagree?

--L.S.

I already spoke to this yesterday, and I'd recommend BZ's outstanding post on how this will break down, as well, but I'll address this here to make a emphasize a couple points:

  1. My hypothesis is that week-to-week voting is different from Final Ballots. A voter who has been voting OU over Texas without much thought is more likely to think it through very carefully before doing so again in the final ballot.
  2. Texas beat Missouri. Oklahoma and Tech did not.
  3. Location of Big Victory/Loss favors Texas.
  4. If Dr. Saturday (and AW, who speculated similarly) may be proven right that two Oklahoma wins will lead to them finishing atop the scrum, the early returns are more measured. See here and here. I think my theory is at least as plausible as the alternative.

There's this assumption out there that (1) voters are dumb and (2) Texas will get screwed because OU is gonna be the team that picked up big wins last. Maybe, but it certainly looked like the voters were going to goof and send Cal to the BCS over Texas in 2004 before Mack "whined" about, for example, some idiot who had Texas ranked #9 on his ballot. Look, if we get into a three-way tiebreaker scenario, Texas fans and PR machine can get to work on making the case for the Longhorns. It's a sound case, and there's no reason (yet) to assume we'll lose the debate. 

You said last week that your dream match up (assuming no Miami) was Texas in the Rose Bowl to face USC. If you're right that Texas can't go to the Rose Bowl any more, what is your new dream match up if not Miami?

--Eric S.

How about Texas versus USC in the Fiesta Bowl? If Oregon State and Texas Tech win out, there's your Fiesta Bowl.

Don't know if you saw this article [on Texas consider ing an all-Longhorn cable channel]. Thought it might make an interesting post.

--Michael S.

It's something to discuss in the offseason, for sure. It makes a lot of sense for a number of reasons; for now, I'll just note that former BON contributor TR predicted this back in 2004. I'll look during the offseason for the email exchange we had about it. I'll say this, though: I fully expect it to happen.

Maybe you can answer a question for me. I was at the game UT-BU game on Saturday but did not have a radio to hear anything other than the PA announcer.

Texas lined up for what turned out to be their second missed field goal of the game. The line of scrimmage was about the Baylor 7, so if you add the 7 or 8 yards for the kick spot, Baylor should have gotten the ball at the 14 or 15, right? When they went to the 5,000th, interminable commercial break, the ball was lined up at the Baylor 20 yard line. There were no penalties on the play and the kick was not blocked by Baylor. (I think this kick is the one that clanged off the upright.)

Is there a difference in spotting the ball after a missed kick when you're inside the opponent's 20? If so has that changed recenty, or has that always been the rule? Or did the officials screw up (not that it affected the outcome by any means)?

--Andy B.

Rule 8-4-2-b (full PDF of rules here) reads that after an unsuccessful field goal attempt: "If the previous spot was between Team B's 20-yard line and the goal line, the ball shall next be put in play at Team B's 20-yard line."

That's not a new rule for 2008, but it may be fairly recent. Either way, the call was correct.

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